Thursday, May 27, 2021

Baseball, Beckett and Bums.

A couple days ago, someone I don't know criticized one of my blog posts. She made me think of the shallowness, perhaps the stupidity, of what I had written. I really had no defense. Nothing to say in response.

But it got me thinking. 

Not thinking of excusing myself--I've never thought of myself as advertising's Wittgenstein--philosophically I'm more Dagwood Bumstead than Ludwig.

What I started thinking about was this: Sometimes I suck. Sometimes I miss. Sometimes, in the parlance of New York schoolyard basketball, I stink up the court.

The thing I realized is simple.

I'm simple. And I operate on a simple belief.

Blogging and advertising and most things that matter, are like baseball.

You don't play once-a-week, you play every day. Like when I played ball in for the Seraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican Baseball League (AA) way back in 1975. I think we played 130 games in 135 days.

That's not fucking around. That's not doing things some times. That's not waiting until the mood strikes you. 

That's every day.

If you do something every day, sometimes you suck. In baseball, sometimes you swing like a rusty gate. Sometimes your arm feels like a dead snake. Sometimes when you run you feel like you're encased in hardening cement.

It's the same thing with most things. 

Marriage. Fatherhood. Friendship. Work. Breathing. Life itself.

Sometimes you suck.

You wake up on the wrong side of the hammock. Or your demons get the better of you, or your doubts and fears. Or the voices you suppress--because we're all suppressing voices--somehow grow louder and plague you like a Greek chorus made up of everything that's ever frightened you. 

I remember one ballgame, so many summers ago, with our best arm, Orestes "Tito" Puente on the hill. Puente went 16-4 that sunny, benighted summer--and for much of the year was unhittable.

But that afternoon, his pitches were like mosquitos drawn into a bug zapper. Throw/crack. Throw/crack. Throw/crack.

Hector and Buentello came out to the mound--in inning one we were already down by three with none out. The dew wasn't even dry in the outfield.

From third, I crept up to the fringe of the mound. I liked to know what was going on. I still do.

Tito handed Hector the pill. "Parece que están acertando la bola curva, chicos." They seem to be hitting the curve, boys.

Yep, somedays you suck.

That's one reason I prefer the Greek gods to the Judeo-Christian god. The Greeks had no illusions of perfection. Their gods were as flawed as people themselves.


That's me.

Now, as Samuel Beckett said, "Fail, fail, fail again better." Or as he said in "Godot," 

"You must go on."

"I can't go on."

"I'll go on."

See you tomorrow.

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